America – Rising Rates of Chronic Homelessness

Homelessness in America has surged and receded throughout our nation’s history, from colonial times to the pre-industrial era to the Great Depression. Today, tens of millions of people lack permanent and affordable housing. The number of homeless people is influenced by factors like economic trends, poverty and food insecurity, mental health conditions, and substance use disorders. These and other factors drive homelessness, but a shortage of affordable rental units contributes the most to the problem.

Despite significant progress, recent years have seen a rise in homelessness across the America statistics, particularly among families and individuals with children. According to the latest annual point-of-time count conducted by local communities, 653,104 Americans were without homes last year, a figure that includes those who live in shelters, transitional housing programs, and other temporary locations, but does not include those who sleep in parks, on the streets, or in cars.

The count, conducted by local communities and coordinated communities of action (CoCs) each January, is designed to be more accurate than previous reports because it focuses on those who do not have access to a safe and stable place to stay at night. While the increase in overall homelessness is troubling, what’s even more concerning is the steep rise in chronically unhoused individuals, who have been living without a fixed address for at least a year or who have experienced several episodes of extended homelessness over the past three years.

Homelessness in America – Rising Rates of Chronic Homelessness

In 2023, nearly one-third of those without homes in the United States were chronically homeless, a substantial increase since 2016, and the highest level ever recorded. The vast majority of these individuals are living with a disability, such as a mental illness or chronic physical condition.

Generally, urban areas have the highest rates of homelessness in the United States. The largest cities, such as New York and Los Angeles, account for more than half of the country’s homeless population. These large populations are influenced by the high cost of housing in those cities and the difficulty of finding an apartment with available vacancies.

Other factors that contribute to higher homelessness rates in certain parts of the country are a limited supply of affordable rental units, high unemployment, and policies with encampment or shelter restrictions. The National Alliance to End Homelessness CEO Ann Oliva explains that the rising numbers are also due to a growing number of migrants who are escaping dangerous situations in their countries of origin and coming to the U.S.

First and foremost, the population of the United States stands as one of the most significant statistical markers of the nation. As of recent data, the U.S. population surpasses 330 million people, making it the third most populous country in the world. This demographic diversity is underscored by the fact that America is often referred to as a melting pot, reflecting its rich blend of ethnicities, races, and cultures. Census data reveals a dynamic landscape, with demographic shifts and immigration patterns continually shaping the composition of American society.

Each year, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) releases a report based on a detailed homelessness count called the Annual Homeless Assessment Revision (AHAR). The AHAR reveals that while sheltered homelessness decreased in most regions, unsheltered homelessness increased across the country last year, and that every ethnic group saw increases in the total number of homeless people. Hispanics/Latinos registered the most significant raw increase, with 39,106 more unhoused individuals compared to 2022. The Asian community also endured a significant percentage increase, though the raw numbers were less dramatic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *